I gave a negative review of this series. I have come to regret this choice the more I reviewed this product. I now feel I should update my conclusions and try to be a more informative reviewer for my readers and not vent my financial venom into the RPGNow community.
I will list my negative conclusions, all of which one might have immediately upon purchasing the product and after an initial review. My reactions were this. Too expensive. I write it out into two paticular paragraphs which I will now repost.
"I have to say I was highly disappointed by this product. I have been really craving new Icons products, and this does fit that bill... but is highly expensive for what you end up getting. Each of these products are about 50 to 70 pages and they charge top dollar for everything you get. Each installment covers about ten archetypes... tells some general things about it... comic world examples... aspects... and 1 character example. For this they charge 8 to 10 dollars each. That means for the complete set of 40 archetypes and characters covered over lets say 240 pages you are going to play $34."
"Now compared to some text heavy systems like D&D and Hero, this really isnt a lot. If you compare this to the Icons Villianomicon, my golden standard on this line which is sold for just $10 dollars and covers 51 characters, you see why this is so painful in comparison. Not to mention that all of the Field Guides (and Villianomicon as well, unfortunately) do not use any of the new and wonderfully utilitarian rules used introduced in Great Powers."
Now this may have felt right when I wrote it then... unbudgeted money is hard to come by sometimes. ICONS is a wonderful rules light RPG and many of its products seem to have a lower price tag. This means that... for me... everything in the ICONS series that I have an interest in, I own. Try saying that with one of the big boy systems. Can't do it. All those huge volumes of books with dense blocks of game statistics to chew through right in the middle of combat or an intense roleplaying scene. Not ICONS... which fits the storyteller's hands like silk gloves... minimalistic and smoothe and airey even.This is why this product kind of dinged me kind of hard.
Now I have read of the books, and the more I do the more I have come to enjoy this product. At the time, I just wanted ICONS stuff. Give me scenarios, characters, vehicles, base aspects. I wanted all of that... like a sugar addict in a brightly lit mall candy store. This book is a little light on this aspect, and yet so much more.
As it lists in its description, the author, a bonafide doctor of the subject of superheroes, lists different archetypes all comic book characters fall into. He offers a traditional explanation and suggests where to draw inspiration for aspects and even important tips on the archetype mentioned. Each one has a prim example rolled up so you see what an Animal Hero would look like up against a Woman Warrior. Also the author sneaks in his own world around the book. He offers a glossary of terms and some new powers, etc. So I would consider this work more of a guide to an outlined superhero rpg setting. The academics are fun considering how candy coated ICONS can get sometimes. Someone new to this system could purchase these books and then attach an interesting scenaro or two... and have a very functinal world outlined with very broad strokes painting a very unique, yet faithful setting. This aspect of these books took me a bit to discover.
So changing my conclusions before. This book has a lot to offer and is unique in the ICONS series. I highly recommend it and continue to find reading it pleasurable and useful. The cost was kind of steep for me but with all things considered I am glad I aquired it and believe you will too.